Home > Slack > Daily Standup Template: Benefits, Downsides & an Alternative
Daily standups should be a quick way for teams to track progress and discuss blockers.
But in reality, the classic way of holding these standups — via video calls or live meetings — makes them overly long, difficult to schedule, and disruptive to people’s work.
To avoid these problems, many teams turn to standup templates that come in different versions:
Web forms that participants fill out daily
Emails with standup questions that get sent on a recurring schedule
Excel or Google Sheets files with everyone’s tasks and blockers, and so on
Filling out these templates instead of holding a live meeting (i.e., replacing synchronous standups with asynchronous, text-based ones) helps teams run faster standups while avoiding scheduling conflicts and workflow disruptions.
That’s why we made a free daily standup template that you can copy. The template consists of three questions that team members answer every day:
While useful, standup templates also come with their own downsides, which we’ll discuss in this article.
On that note, here’s everything we’ll cover below:
The benefits and downsides of using daily standup templates
How Geekbot (our free daily standup tool for Slack and Microsoft Teams) can help you replace synchronous standups with faster and less-disruptive asynchronous ones while avoiding the downsides of standup templates
Benefits of Using a Daily Standup Template
By using templates instead of holding synchronous standups, you get three crucial benefits:
Faster standups. Traditional standups often go off track and become long problem-solving sessions, instead of a quick sync. Text-based standups avoid this issue because they require teammates to answer questions on their own, without the risk of a live conversation going off-topic.
No scheduling conflicts. Remote teams in different time zones often face big challenges when scheduling standups. Imagine being the meeting facilitator responsible for getting people in London, Tokyo, and New York on the same daily call. Finding a time that works for everyone can be a nightmare. But when you use templates, folks simply answer the standup questions throughout the day when it’s most convenient, and there’s no need to waste time coordinating schedules.
Fewer workflow disruptions. A massive complaint about daily standups is that they’re bad for productivity because they disrupt people’s workflow. After all, when you have a video call or an in-person standup, you must stop what you’re doing, change gears, go through the meeting, and then change gears again to get back into your groove. All this context switching has a negative impact on focus and as a result — on productivity. With text-based standups, team members can work without interruptions and fill out the template at a time that’s conducive to their schedule.
Downsides of Using a Daily Standup Meeting Template
Despite their benefits, daily standup meeting templates aren’t a perfect solution. We know this from experience, because we tried using a web form template to run our standups for a time.
Two of the biggest problems we encountered are universal to all standup meeting templates:
Relying on folks to remember to fill them out without an external prompt. As a result, team members often forget to answer their questions, which defeats the whole purpose of the daily standup meeting. In our experience, this is a massive disadvantage.
Templates don’t encourage conversations. A key part of the daily standup is discussing who can help you with the blockers you’re facing. However, templates don’t help facilitate these conversations. Sure, you can leave comments or tag people, but that still relies on them logging into the template and scanning everyone’s answers (or finding email alerts in what’s usually a hectic inbox.)
These problems, along with other challenges we faced when running daily remote standups, inspired us to create Geekbot.
How Geekbot Helps You Run Fast and Effective Standups (without the Downsides of Standup Templates)
Geekbot is our free asynchronous meeting tool for Slack and Microsoft Teams that you can use to run standups, retrospectives, polls, surveys, and other remote check-ins.
Geekbot is free for teams with up to 10 active participants. For larger teams, pricing is $2.50 per active user on the annual plan and $3.00 per active user on the monthly plan.
The process of running standups with Geekbot is simple:
You select the standup questions and the team members who will receive them.
Geekbot sends these questions to the relevant folks via a direct message in Slack or Microsoft Teams, so they receive a notification.
Everyone’s answers are posted in a channel of your choosing, so they can be seen by others and encourage discussion if necessary.
In the sections below, we’ll discuss the two biggest benefits of this process over traditional daily scrum templates.
Benefit #1: Higher Standup Participation Rates
Unlike standup templates that rely on folks remembering to answer questions without an external cue, Geekbot prompts team members and ensures they don’t forget about the daily standup.
Geekbot sends the daily standup questions to team members as a direct message in Slack or MS Teams. This triggers a notification accompanied by a sound effect and a small red dot, both of which catch people’s attention and increase participation rates.
Geekbot can optionally send reminder notifications to teammates. For example, say someone from the dev team receives the standup questions at a bad time, like while resolving a critical bug. It would be easy for them to set aside the questions for later, only to forget them entirely. But with our optional reminder feature, they can instruct Geekbot to follow up with them about the standup at a specific interval, e.g., every 2 hours. These reminders are completely optional, so they don’t become annoying or disruptive.
Benefit #2: Easier to Start Conversations and Discuss Blockers
When team members fill out the standup questions, Geekbot posts their answers in a Slack or MS Teams channel of your choosing.
Folks read the updates at their convenience.
Team members can tag one another as needed (e.g., to request help with a blocker). For example, in the image below, Kate tagged Brandon to discuss the status of new landing pages. Brandon then responded by creating a Slack thread to see how he can help Kate resolve her blocker.
This is a great way of discussing blockers, because only the relevant team members are involved, without troubling others with unnecessary information and notifications.
Plus, it’s much more effective than writing in a template, hoping for others to notice, and then opening another tool to start a conversation.
Create a Free Geekbot Account
Since building Geekbot, our own team and over 170,000 users have used it to run standups, retrospectives, polls, and other kinds of remote workcheck-ins.